How on earth do you plan to replace a striker who has scored 104 goals across the previous three seasons? Well, when Borussia Dortmund were planning for the potential departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, per The Mail, the Bundesliga giants turned their attention towards a little known Russian by the name of Fyodor Smolov.
A journeyman striker who has exploded into life at the relatively late age of 27, Smolov had only scored 16 goals in his entire professional career before signing for Krasnodar in the summer of 2015.
After two seasons with the Russian side, however, the skilful centre-forward had 48 goals in all competitions. And so far this season, he has eight in ten while also establishing himself as Russia’s first-choice centre-forward with the World Cup looming large on the horizon.
You can see, then, why Dortmund were mulling over whether or not to hand Smolov his big break before Aubameyang decided to stay for another year.
But that does not mean Smolov has missed his chance to move to a major European league. The Mail reports that the Russia captain is a £15 million January target for West Ham – and is keen on a move to London.
David Moyes wants to strengthen The Hammers’ spine and Smolov, an intelligent striker with the technique to play out wide, would offer both versatility and offensive quality. And with Javier Hernandez, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll struggling for consistency this season, the late-blooming Russian could quickly become West Ham’s go-to goalscorer.
And considering Dortmund felt Smolov could replace one of the world’s best strikers in Aubameyang, West Ham fans should be in no doubt about their latest target’s ability.